Call for probe on Shropshire Council allowances

A town councillor has called for an investigation into the "scandalous waste of money" being spent on county councillor's special allowances.

On Thursday, Shropshire Council considered an independent report into councillor's allowances that recommended to freeze councillor's basic allowances, and increase the pay to leader Peter Nutting by more than £5,000.

However Councillor Nutting said he did not want that to happen, and councillors voted to send the report back to the independent panel for reconsideration.

Duncan Kerr, a Green councillor who sits on Oswestry Town Council, believes a recommendation to cull the payments for special responsibilities has been ignored, and the Conservative group has maintained what he calls 'inflated councillor allowances'.

At a time when the council is desperate for cash, he said it is not acceptable.

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Councillor Kerr said: "The report, considered by the council, notes that the basic allowance is already above average and recommends a significant cull in the payment of special responsibilities reducing them by either 25 per cent or 50 per cent and in some cases deleting them entirely.

"But the Conservative group have now changed their own rules and voted to ignore their own panels advice and maintain these inflated allowances.

"I’d like to tell you how much extra in council tax we will now have to pay for this arrogance but, although the Council is desperate for cash, the report conveniently forgets to calculate the savings that would have resulted from accepting the panel’s recommendations."

He said the special allowances payments are a 'scandalous waste of money.'

Councillor Kerr has now written to the Minister for Local Government, urging him to investigate the allowances for special responsibilities.

He added: "At a time when cuts to youth services have already been made, redundancies anticipated and cuts to children’s centres proposed it is a scandal that Conservative Councillors will continue to be entitled to receive more money in special allowances than their own independent penal recommended.

"The Government has already expressed their concern about inflated allowances in Local Government and I will be writing to the Minister for Local Government asking for this scandalous waste of public money to be promptly investigated."

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